Baby skin is extremely delicate and much more sensitive than the skin of older children or adults.
Babies don’t develop a full skin barrier until they’re around 2 years old, so their skin isn’t able to maintain moisture levels and is less resistant to irritants.
This makes it quite common for babies to develop rashes and dry skin, which also makes it harder to tell if your baby has more sensitive skin than normal.
The difference is that babies with hypersensitive skin usually have consistent reactions to particular triggers in their immediate environment.
Check our guide to sensitive skin in babies below to identify whether your baby has extra sensitive skin and how to treat it.
Signs your baby has sensitive skin
- Consistently dry and rough skin
- Scaly or cracked skin
- Red patches of skin
- Inflamed itchy skin
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Skin reactions to products or clothing
- Nappy rashes not caused by tightness or dampness
Dryness and rashes will come and go for most babies.
But if your baby’s skin is constantly dry and always reacting to things that touch it, it’s safe to say that your baby has sensitive skin.
Extremely dry and flaky skin with scaly patches or raised red bumps is likely to be eczema, which is a sign your child definitely has very sensitive skin.
What causes sensitive skin in babies?
Lots of things can trigger irritation for sensitive skin, including:
- Too much washing and drying
- Hard or chlorinated water
- Fragranced or alcohol-based soaps, lotions, or wipes
- Particular detergents or fabrics
- Tight clothes or blankets
- Central heating or air conditioning
- Sun, wind, or air pollution
- Certain foods or drinks
Even the friction and pressure from you carrying your baby, or perfume on your own skin and clothes can irritate your baby’s skin if it’s extremely sensitive.
It can be hard to narrow down a specific source of irritation for your baby’s skin – it’s a complicated process of elimination, and you might find that there are multiple things triggering it.
You can reduce your baby’s skin irritation by following the advice below to prevent flare-ups and treat any dryness or rashes at home.
How to care for baby sensitive skin
There are plenty of things you can do to look after your baby’s skin and keep them comfortable and happy as they grow:
- Choose clothing and bedding in natural breathable fabrics.
- Remove any scratchy or sticking-out labels on clothes and blankets.
- Dress your baby in the right size of clothes and nappies, not too tight.
- Change nappies frequently and always keep the nappy area clean and dry.
- Wash bedding and clothes regularly, but avoid using soaps and detergents with scents and dyes.
- Stay away from products with mineral oils, paraffins, silicones, microplastics, or petroleum jelly.
- Keep your baby’s skin clean, but don’t bathe them too often or for too long.
- Bathe your baby in lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel (no rubbing).
- Use hypoallergenic shampoos, body washes, and moisturisers designed specifically for babies with sensitive skin.
- Be gentle and sparing with product application – less is more.
- Avoid heavy-duty oils and creams, and don’t apply talcum powder.
- Vacuum your home frequently and avoid using air freshener sprays.
- Protect your baby from UV rays with at least SPF50 sun cream and hats/long sleeves/pram shades when you go outside.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes (be careful with heating and air conditioning).
- Consider an elimination diet if you suspect food or drink is the culprit.
- Put scratch mitts on your baby if they keep itching to prevent damaging the skin.
Doing these things should help reduce irritation and keep your baby’s skin soft, smooth, and pain-free.
Dry and sensitive skin can cause a lot of stress for babies and parents alike, but remember that it’s completely normal and manageable with the right products.
If your baby has persistently dry sensitive skin and messy moisturising creams and fragrance-free detergents don’t seem to make a difference, there’s another option.
Specially-made clothing for babies with sensitive skin can protect against irritants and keep skin moisturised, saving time and effort.
HappySkin garments are carefully crafted to minimise irritation and incorporate unique DreamSkin® technology to regulate moisture and temperature levels.
They even have integrated fold-away mitts to prevent scratching.
At the end of the day, parents will do anything to keep their babies content and comfortable.
Follow the steps above to cut down on irritants in your baby’s life and soothe their sensitive skin, and you should soon see positive results.